Why the Rotary Leadership Model Works

by Chris Offer

April 5, 2011
Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece is from Rotary Canada — April 2011

I doubt many experts would point to Rotary’s practice of changing leaders every year as a model organizational structure. By all obvious measures, annually electing a new RI president, more than 500 district governors, and more than 33,000 club presidents shouldn’t work. Yet, we’ve found ways to create continuity and consistency within our organization, helping new leaders build on the accomplishments of their predecessors.

One of the reasons our leadership model works so well is the quality of the training programs offered by clubs, districts, zones, and Rotary International. Rotarians and RI have designed training for every position, and districts offer a wide array of programs to educate leaders and help them hone skills that are useful in other areas of their lives.

One set of unique training tools is our magazines. The Rotarian and Rotary Canada assist in developing our leaders by introducing us to new ideas, highlighting successful service projects, and profiling the exceptional achievements of Rotarians. This issue of Rotary Canada offers two examples of service projects that deliver humanitarian support efficiently, effectively, and economically. Canadian Rotarians’ efforts to support Healing Little Hearts, led by Past District Governor Douglas W. Vincent, show how a service project can change the lives of many children. Céline Lalancette’s report on a water initiative in Ecuador by District 7790 (parts of Quebec, Canada, and Maine, USA) exemplifies how clubs can collaborate to set goals and achieve success.

Rotarians need a lot from our leaders. We require information, resources, trust, and commitment. We need our leaders to foster experimentation, to help us make connections across our organization, to share information from various sources – all while helping us focus on our goals. Rotary media help us make these connections and inspire us to do all we can as leaders and as Rotarians.

Chris Offer is the Chair, Rotary Canada Advisory Board

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About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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